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Legislative Commission Approves Six By-Law Proposals for December Ballot, Including Football Changes

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The Illinois High School Association's Legislative Commission voted Monday (Nov. 24) to refer six proposals to amend the IHSA Constitution and By-laws to a vote of the general membership. The Commission voted after hearing feedback from member school personnel at 28 town meetings held around the state during the month of November.

One of the proposals advanced by the Commission would require the IHSA to schedule regular-season games for all football-playing schools after placing them into regions based on enrollment. The top four teams in each region, based on regular-season results, would qualify for the playoffs, which would remain at 32 teams per class.

"The vote to advance the football proposal was a surprise," said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. "At the town meetings there seemed to be little support for a sweeping change like this. But it speaks to the passionate feelings we've heard from both sides of this issue that the Commission thought it best to put the question to the membership."

The ballot containing the proposals will be available to each member school's official representative in the IHSA's online Schools Center, beginning Monday, December 1. The deadline to submit the ballot is midnight, Tuesday, December 30. The ballots will be tabulated and the results posted on Tuesday, January 6. A simple majority of votes cast will determine whether each proposal passes.

Here is a summary of the proposals on the ballot:

·         Proposal 1: Allows the Board of Directors to approve international programs that do not appear on the list of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), and thereby confer eligibility to students in those programs.

·         Proposal 5: Removes the mid-summer "dead week" provision that was approved last year. The first dead week is scheduled to take place June 28 to July 4, 2015.

·         Proposal 10: Revamps the football regular season and the football playoff system. The following major changes are specified:

•      Regular-season competition takes place in 7-, 8-, or 9-team regions that replace conferences. The regions are based on geography and enrollment.

•      The regions are valid for 2 years, with playing schedules determined by formula. Schools will have at least one inter-region game on their regular-season schedule.

•      Each of the 8 playoff classes is made up of 8 regions. The top 4 teams from each region qualify for the playoffs. Each playoff class has 32 teams.

•      In each class, 4 regions are placed in the North Bracket and 4 in the South Bracket. Within each bracket, the teams placing #1, #2, #3, #4 in each regional are placed by formula so that they are in different quarters. Each quarter of the bracket includes a #1, #2, #3, and #4 team, coming from 4 different regions.

·         Proposal 15: Moves the date of the first contest of the Girls Tennis season four days earlier, to Thursday of Week 7.

·         Proposal 17: Removes the season limitation currently in place for Scholastic Bowl.

·         Proposal 18: Increases the contest limitation for Scholastic Bowl from 18 dates to 30 dates.

The text of these proposals, as amended is available in a PDF document.

The remaining proposals were rejected by the Legislative Commission. A total of 32 of the 35 commissioners attended Monday's meeting, which was held at the IHSA Office in Bloomington.

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